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Do I Need To Take Driver’s Ed To Get a Permit?

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  • Most states require teens to take driver’s ed to obtain a permit. 
  • Many states also require vision and knowledge tests as part of the permit process. 
  • Some required driver’s ed programs contain in-car observation and behind-the-wheel instruction elements.

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Are you ready to get your learner’s permit? Chances are you’ll need to take some form of driver’s ed to obtain your permit or turn it into a full license. Below, we talk about the different types of driver’s ed requirements you might expect, the steps you’ll need to take to get your permit, and more.

Which States Require Driver’s Ed for a Permit? 

Most states require teen drivers to enroll in and complete a driver’s education program to obtain a learner’s permit. In fact, 38 states require some form of driver’s education during a permit, license, or graduated license program. 

In some states, new drivers of any age must take a course to become eligible for a road test. Additionally, some states require in-car observation and behind-the-wheel driving lessons as part of an approved driver education course. 

Take a look at our guide to driver’s ed requirements by state, or visit your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) or licensing agency to learn more. 

Common State Driver’s Ed Requirements For Permits

Below are some examples of the requirements you can expect when beginning the permit or license process.

StateDriver’s Ed RequirementsTesting Requirements Resources
CaliforniaDrivers under 18 must complete 25 hours of classroom instruction, home study, or online driver education classes to obtain a permit.-Vision exam
-Knowledge test
California DMV
Best Online Driver’s Ed in California
FloridaAll permit applicants under 18 must complete the four-hour Florida TLSAE course-Vision exam
-Hearing exam
-Knowledge exam
Florida HSMV
Best Online Driver’s Ed in Florida
TexasTeens ages 15 and 16 must complete a minimum of six hours of driver education school to obtain a learner’s license. 
Adults ages 18 through 24 must take the Texas Impact Driver’s course and a six-hour adult driver’s ed course to obtain a license.
-Vision exam required for learner’s license
-Vision, knowledge, and driving skills test required for license
Texas DPS
Best Online Driver’s Ed in Texas

Driver’s Ed Instruction

Most driver’s ed programs include classroom or online lessons. In these lessons, new drivers learn traffic laws, signs, safe driving and defensive driving techniques, and other information critical for driving success. Information is typically broken down into chapters or units, with quizzes and a final permit test or exam. 

Some state-approved online driver education programs include an official permit or license knowledge exam, eliminating the need for a DMV trip.

In-Car Observation

Some driver’s ed programs feature in-car observation lessons. During observation, new drivers ride passenger alongside professional driving instructors and become familiar with standard vehicle operation procedures. 

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction

Many states require in person behind-the-wheel training as part of their graduated licensing programs. In these lessons, new teen drivers get their first practice driving experience – operating a vehicle while guided by a professional driving instructor. 

Other Permit Requirements

Successfully obtaining a permit or license takes many steps. As detailed in your state’s driver handbook, you will most likely need to fulfill other requirements in addition to some form of driver training school.

Vision Tests

Most permit application processes include a required vision test. Learn about your state’s vision requirements to obtain a driver license in your state driver manual or licensing agency website. 

Knowledge Tests

A knowledge test is mandatory for nearly all teen drivers seeking a permit. You’ll find everything you need for this test in your state’s driver’s manual or an approved driver education course. 

Supervised Driving Hours

Typically, new teen drivers do not need to complete supervised driving practice or driving school to obtain a learner’s permit. However, most states require supervised driver training to advance from a learner’s permit to a provisional license. 

How To Get Your Permit

Obtaining your learner’s permit represents a significant step. If you’re preparing to get your learner’s permit, you’ll need to follow these general steps:

  • Study your state’s driver’s manual to learn licensing requirements and more
  • Register for and complete any required driver education programs
  • Learn about any required documents on your licensing agency’s website
  • Schedule testing appointments, if necessary
  • Take your vision, knowledge, and any other applicable exams

Remember that permit requirements and application processes vary by state. Always check your local DMV or licensing agency for the most up-to-date information on procedures, required documentation, driving tests, and other necessities. 

What To Do Next

Ready to get started? Take a look at our list of top online driver’s ed providers to find a great online course, or check out the driver’s ed requirements in your state by continuing to browse our blog.

Driver’s Ed Requirements for a Permit: FAQ

Do I need to take a knowledge test to get my permit?

Yes. Most states require new drivers to complete a vision screening and a knowledge test to obtain a learner’s permit. Check out your state’s driver’s handbook to learn more.

How much does a permit cost?

Costs to obtain a new permit typically range from $15 to $30, but can be more depending on your state’s licensing system. Visit your state’s licensing agency website for the most up-to-date permit and license pricing information.

What do I need to get my permit?

Most states require teens seeking a learner’s permit to present at least two forms of identification, pass vision and knowledge tests, complete driver’s ed, and pay any applicable fees. You’ll find step-by-step instructions and a full list of acceptable identification documents in your state’s driver handbook.

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